At a time when social distancing is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, a novel coronavirus, teachers are getting creative to continue connecting with their students.
On March 17, Nicole Kiper, a teacher at the Orange Early Childhood Preschool, took to Facebook Live to read to her students. Ms. Kiper teaches a class of 4-year-olds and continues to use this technology to connect with her students despite the distance between them.
“It’s so important,” Ms. Kiper said. “In addition to the social aspect of it and feeling connected to people, reading books to kids is the best thing you can do for their learning.”
Ms. Kiper and a group of other preschool teachers take turns reading a book on Facebook Live Monday through Friday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Each segment, depending on the book, can last up to 10 minutes. The teachers pick popular books that the children will enjoy, such as the “Pete the Cat” series by Eric Litwan and the “Elephant and Piggie” series by Mo Willems, she said.
Superintendents of districts throughout the Chagrin Valley have said that it is challenging to maintain the relationship between teachers and their students when they cannot meet in person. They also said that distance learning is more difficult for the younger children.
Dana Schultz, 38, of Streetsboro has a 3-year-old daughter, Lauren, in the Orange Early Childhood Preschool. Ms. Schultz said that she and Lauren usually watch the readings live if they can. If not, they catch up in the morning or at bedtime.
“It’s nice for her to see her teachers and see familiar faces. She gets so excited to see her teachers,” Ms. Schultz said. “She misses them all so much.”
She said that one of Lauren’s favorite books is “Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad” by David Soman and Jacky Davis.
Ms. Kiper said that she collaborated with other teachers and the Early Childhood Coordinator Maria Hill to do their best to continue seeing their students through these reading sessions.
“The kids know all of us even though we’re not all their teachers,” she said. “Seeing us reading a book would be the highlight of their day.”
Ms. Kiper said that the parents watch with their children and sometimes stream the video to the TV to see it on a bigger screen. The teachers have received positive feedback, she said. At this point, the teachers are planning on continuing to read on Facebook Live through the end of April. The videos can be found at www.Facebook.com/OrangeEdRec.